The dilemma of the Christmas Party… do we or don’t we?

As the festive season approaches and organisations are considering their end of year or Christmas party things may feel a little different this year. However, it may present an opportunity to do things in a new way, and really give your team and staff a sense that you’re thinking about things. You may be considering how to support them and perhaps the wider community. 

At New Dawn we’ve been hearing from many clients that against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis and lived experience of their staff, that they’re re-thinking this year’s celebrations. Is a Christmas party a treat for staff or an extra burden for them to navigate? 

You may think that food and drink is a great idea, but it comes with hidden costs that in previous years we may not have considered. These may include new clothes, childcare, taxi fares and extra money for drinks at pre-party and post-event ‘Let’s go somewhere else’ expenses. These all mount up and will add extra financial pressure in a season that is already pressurised.  

It may also be that the optics just feel out of place this year. As a team or organisation you may  want to use the money you were going to spend in other ways this year.

So we thought we would share some ideas on alternative options.

  • Vouchers to staff – A voucher for a shop or supermarket of up to £50 is tax free and saves you on the NI and tax. If you’re feeling generous you could gift one for both December and January.

How to give workers a tax-free gift in four simple steps (

  • A Christmas Hamper for staff of essentials or treats for the festive season.
  • An Experience Day – there are many available at various price points.
  • A Charity Donation – Use the money to top up a local food bank or other local charity and give back to the community. 
  • Personalised Staff Christmas Presents – Not a Secret Santa! If you have the time, resources and your team is small enough, this could be a nice way of saying thankyou or Happy Christmas. 

It may be a good idea to ask your staff what they want, so that you’re transparent about your reasons and can involve them from the start. If it’s a resounding yes to a party then at least you know that you’ve considered things in a more considered and inclusive way.

Finally, you may feel that this year the Christmas Party is much needed, but whatever you decide remember to involve everyone. 

Here at New Dawn, we’re celebrating with a Christmas lunch in the office and shall be donating to a food bank in the town along with a local school’s hamper charity.